Tips and Tricks

Green Innovation

None of us alone can be as good as all of us together.  For this reason GEE provides several forums for colaboration.

From posts and responses, to webinars and interviews, we offer the chance to learn and pass along the best techniques and technologies in energy wise retrofitting of residential homes.

 

Home Performance And Pretty? Can I Have Both? Quickly?

Have you ever “day dreamed” or fantasized, “What if life circumstances changed & you re-located across the country and got to choose a new place to live?” I know that if you’re reading this blog, you’re at least somewhat of a Home Performance Geek like me. And I know that only a few of us in this industry actually live in our “Home Performance Dream Home”….

So a little day dreaming and “What If?” thinking is in order for most of us. Pretty, You Bet! Home Performance?  Not So Much.

A couple months ago this Home Performance Day Dream began to come true for me. Son in Law got a job inPurcellville Virginia, so Luelle and I are “following the grandbabies” 3000 miles across the country into a whole new Climate Zone.

At first it was easy, I found a realtor who found a lot that borders on Open Space. That, plus all the “Energy Options” was all I wanted in our new home …. I’ll let my wife pick everything else and the production builder promised to be done in 120 days, maybe less. Sound pretty normal for an Energy Geek Guy?

Then I ran into the reality that maybe “Production Building” and “Home Performance” may not go together too well…

The builder’s website reveals “Last Century” framing details. 2×4 @ 16? OC, double top plate, bulky corners. It would be so easy to do so much better, from a Home Performance point of view.

The builder has won design awards and offers a lot of pretty house for the money. My wife was sold, and I was going along… until the construction details started being revealed. The standard home was being built to the same standards that I used in 1980. 2×4 walls with no rigid insulation, R-30 ceilings, No sealing of shell or ducts, no treatment of band joists, not even all dual pane windows, Ouch! I could see that I was headed for an identity crisis.

Obviously if I want my perfect Home Performance Dream House, I’ll have to build it myself, And that’s probably what will happen over the next couple of years. But I want to move into something in 120 days. So I’m considering my options and asking for as much Home Performance as I can get from the production builder. They were adamant, no 2×6?s. Rigid Insulation, They are thinking about it. I guess no one’s ever asked for it before.

The way I see it, there are 3 areas of Energy improvement that can be done to a pretty production home:

1. The items the production builder will allow you to upgrade and pay extra for

2. The things that you or someone you hire can do on nights and weekends, additional sealing etc.

3. The things you just have to change after you move in.

So that’s where I am, negotiating for as much of #1 as I can get. And then as much of # 2 as they will allow. And wondering if I have a “breaking point” An amount of last century’s building standards that I just cant live with and still be me.

Have you ever been in this place before? Please Comment. Any tips on negotiating with a production builder who has systems in place that are working for him….?   I’ll let you know how this develops.

PS I found this Top 10 List of ways to improve a new house by Martin Holladay.   Would you agree?  What would you add?

 

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